In cheeky Christmas musical Follow The Light, audiences follow the journey of Mary, moments before immaculate conception, up till baby Jesus receives his gifts from the three wisemen. These wisemen however are portrayed as three street kids in Bethlehem in search of fame and glory.
Follow The Light was written by composer Nick Choo, who gives the classic Christmas tale a very contemporary spin: one that would sit particularly well with Gen Y and Z. It takes liberty with the gender of biblical figures for example, portraying two of its shepherds as females.
Choo’s rewrite of the nativity is one of rare, clever works by young locals, triumphing in terms of wit and resonance with a 21st century audience.
Dubbed a Christmas concert, Follow The Light served a flurry of camp comedy and vocal acrobatics — at times employed to hilarious effect by the highly-adept Stephanie Van Driesen, who steals every scene in this staging as the Angel but is gracious enough to give others their time to shine — on a minimal set.
Arguably the most beautiful aspect of the performance was the diversity of its cast members, who despite their various ethnic backgrounds commit to this retelling of a popular festive story.
As artists push through tricky times for society, it was important that the team behind Follow The Light brought multicultural Malaysia onto the stage to tell each other’s stories. Because if the performing arts community cannot band together and speak the voice of remaining sane members of the public, who will?
Performances vary across the board, though its female actors threatened to make the show their own. From Nabilah Hamid‘s rap burst to Badrika Bahadur‘s bratty shepherd, each woman on stage took to their roles with relish. Also worthy of praise was Alia Kearney who presented a quirky but sensitive Mary.
While the choice of microphones was initially distracting, nobody took notice several numbers through as Follow The Light‘s performers managed to make the device feel as natural as an extension of their own body.
Held at Playspace for one night only (the day before saw a public dress rehearsal), cast members performed to a full house. The venue saw a set of audience as varied as the performers on stage, cheering between numbers and exploding in applause as the performance drew to an end.
As far as Christmas musicals go, this is definitely one to keep an ear out for in the future.
Follow The Light took place on 29 December at Playspace, Damansara Perdana.